Last week I took a photography trip down to southern Chiba Prefecture. There are lots of great places to photograph there, but one of the main places I wanted to shoot was these terraced rice fields in Kamogawa. These are known as the Oyama Senmaida rice fields, and are unique in that they are the only rice fields in Japan to grow solely on rain water. These fields have been on my radar for several years actually, but it’s challenging to get down to shoot them at the right time. If you go too early, you will only see the water in the paddies. If you go too late, the rice plants will be too tall to get the reflections in the water. Only for a brief time in May is the balance just right, and so getting the time and good weather to get a nice image can be difficult. Thankfully, everything worked out great during my trip, as you can see.
This photo was not too complicated to edit, but did require blending of multiple exposures. This allowed for there to be enough details in the shadows while also picking up the right exposure for the highlights in the sky and water. Using the luminosity mask procedure and other nuanced techniques that I talk about in my post processing digital workshop made this step pretty simple. The harder part is getting the sky right – you want there to be plenty of color from sunrise, but this can lead to some banding in the sky, which is where there are “bands” of color rather than a smooth gradient. An easy way to fix this is by adding a little bit of noise to the sky. However, you don’t want to add that noise across the board, so being able to select for just the sky via luminosity masking is helpful here as well. Along with various adjustment layers (which I also talk about in my digital workshop), I was able to recreate the feel as I had hoped, and am quite pleased with how this image turned out! It was exactly the kind of image I was hoping to get.
Camera: Nikon D610
Lens: Nikon 16-35mm f/4
Shot Info: f/13 | Multiple Exposures (blended) | ISO 250 | 19mm